The human papilloma virus (HPV) is common in 80% of sexually active men and women. HPV is contracted by skin to skin contact regardless of sexual orientation or practice. There are 100 strains (types) of HPV; 14 of which are potentially cancer-causing, and each new sexual partner can spread a different HPV strain.
The human papilloma virus enters cells and causes them to change over time. Our body’s immune system can normally clear the HPV virus within 1-2 years. However, some people have a harder time clearing the virus than others. When HPV lingers over a long period of time it has the potential to cause several types of cancer. According to the CDC the HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) can offer protection from 6 different types of cancer: cervical cancer and cervical precancer, oropharyngeal cancer, anal cancer, vulva and vaginal cancer, and penile cancer.
As research has progressed into 2019 the FDA and CDC have found that there are benefits for receiving the HPV vaccine under the age of 46. According to the CDC 34,800 women and men are diagnosed per year with cancer caused by HPV. The vaccine, however, can reduce this prevalence of HPV-related cancers by up to 90%. However, the HPV vaccine does not offer protection against low risk HPV strains like genital warts. At this time not all medical insurance plans are covering the vaccination between the ages of 27-45, but clinicians are hopeful that the vaccine will cover those individuals by 2020. If you have more questions about the Gardasil 9 vaccine you should talk to your healthcare provider and make sure this choice is right for your health.